Yes, it’s that time of year again! The nights are getting shorter, the wind is howling and strange things are afoot. Halloween is almost upon us – so what better than watching a load of old scary movies to creep you out of an evening? Yes, it’s time for another Halloween Horror Fest!
I’m starting a bit late this year, but once again I’ll be watching some fantastic (or not so fantastic) horror movies and writing bite-sized reviews.
Let’s start with…
Tales from the Crypt (1972)
Classic British horror of the seventies, but from Amicus Productions, not Hammer – this film stars many a great actor in another anthology movie. The concept is basically a film version of some of the stories featured in the old EC horror comics of the same name (though only a couple are actually from that title).
Five strangers encounter The Crypt Keeper (Ralph Richardson), deep in the catacombs of a tourist attraction. The Crypt Keeper then reveals a story for each of the protagonists.
The first segment features a very lovely Joan Collins, as a housewife who murders her husband on Christmas Eve. However a homicidal maniac is on the loose, which complicates Joanie’s plan to dispose of her deadly doings. Despite the festive setting, this is a good start to proceedings. I may dig this one out again to watch with the family at Christmas – it’ll make a change from Home Alone.
Up next is what I considered the weakest of the stories, though I can imagine it working better in comic book form. Ian Hendry leaves his wife and family to take off with his bit on the side. A dream premonition and nasty car crash result in a change of plans.
Peter Cushing pops up in the third tale, putting in a brilliant performance as a kindly old widower. His snobbish neighbours decide to grind the old gent down so they can get rid of him – but revenge is on the cards. Although Cushing’s casting is no surprise at all, he does a superb job in this role.
The fourth story is a chilling warning to be careful what you wish for; a ruthless business man (Richard Greene) comes a cropper in what is the most gruesome tale of the five.
Finally, a repugnant ex-army Major gets his comeuppance, after mistreating the inhabitants of the hoe for the blind that he’s supposed to be in charge of. His fate is grim but well deserved!
Tales from the Crypt offers only mild innovation from the usual Amicus product, but is remarkably well done. Freddie Francis directs and puts together a highly entertaining film that has spine chilling horror and genuinely repulsive moments. Although a little dated, there’s still plenty to recommend this movie.